NEW YORK -- There are no accidental music selections when Aaron Judge is in control. As the Yankees' self-appointed clubhouse DJ, each playlist is meticulously crafted for a specific situation, whether it be to mellow teammates out before batting practice, pump them up with 20 minutes to first pitch or
NEW YORK -- There are no accidental music selections when Aaron Judge is in control. As the Yankees' self-appointed clubhouse DJ, each playlist is meticulously crafted for a specific situation, whether it be to mellow teammates out before batting practice, pump them up with 20 minutes to first pitch or celebrate another win at ear-splitting decibels.
So when Judge rolled a portable speaker past the Red Sox's clubhouse at Fenway Park late on Saturday evening, blasting Frank Sinatra's "Theme from New York, New York" to accompany his trek to the bus following a 6-2 Yankees victory in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, it hardly seemed plausible that the choice could have been a coincidence.
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"It's a good song," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone, stifling a grin. "[Aaron] is one of our resident DJs, so he's got a pretty extensive playlist. I guess that's the one that was going. We like to hear that song sometimes when we win a big game. I think it's fun. It's something to talk about. But I think it's just a good-natured, whatever."
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A video clip quickly circulated on social media, but since Fenway's red-brick corridors likely muffled the tune for any players lingering in Boston's clubhouse, Judge's stroll came as news to Xander Bogaerts and Matt Barnes. Both players said on Sunday that they were unaware, though Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he had heard about it from Dustin Pedroia.
"You've got to ask him if it was something for us, but I doubt it," Cora said. "He's a guy that, when he hits the ball out of the ballpark, he puts his head down and he runs. That's probably just something they do when they win. Probably they did it somewhere else, too."
No Yankees player is better connected to social media than Didi Gregorius, and the shortstop quickly learned of the clip's existence.
"I heard about it too, but I wasn't with him," Gregorius said. "He went on the first bus. I went on the second bus. I don't know what message [it sends], but I mean, we just go out there and play the game. The rivalry is always there, so it's always good to have a little bit of fun with it."
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It is worth noting that Sinatra's music is not in heavy rotation for Judge, who typically has thumped a blend of Drake, Calvin Harris, J. Cole and Cardi B after each victory.
"I just like music," Judge said earlier this season. "Music I feel like affects people's moods. If you have a good music tone of the day, it puts everybody in the right mindset."
Judge became the Yankees' new DJ following his callup to the big leagues in 2016, when he said there had been little to no music playing before and after games. Without much resistance, Judge took over for Carsten Sabathia and Aaron Hicks, then maintained the role through his AL Rookie of the Year Award-winning campaign.
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"One day -- it must have been the first week -- I think Hicks or somebody put music on," Judge said. "We won that day, so the next day I came in and there was still no music on. I was wondering, 'What's going on? We won.' I think CC and Hicks just got tired of me complaining about not having any music on. They said, 'You know what? Screw it. You go take over.'"
While teammates will occasionally question a track or two, the music now unquestionably belongs to Judge. And he takes it seriously: Judge said that he has spent hours crafting playlists on Spotify and Apple Music, and scouring websites like HotNewHipHop.com for fresh tracks. His accounts are also permanently logged in to the Yankees' clubhouse speakers.
"If I'm sitting at home, playing video games and I've got a couple of minutes to myself before bed, I'm listening to music and putting a couple of playlists together," Judge said. "I'm passionate about music."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.